As We Know that there is always something happening in Salesforce,In late 2014, Salesforce introduced a new way of connecting with external systems where easily configured, a simple yet powerful point and click interface will do all the job for you!!
Lets explore the Salesforce Lightning Connect!!
What Exactly Salesforce Lightning Connect is?
Lightning Connect is a framework that enables you to access and use external data stored outside Salesforce
It integrate tables from SAP, Microsoft SharePoint, and many other data sources, in real time, without writing a single line of code.
It is different from extract, transform, and load (ETL) tools.
How External Objects are different from Custom Objects?
External objects are similar to custom objects, except that they map to data that’s stored outside your Salesforce organization. Each external object relies on an external data source definition to connect with the external system’s data. Each external object definition maps to a data table on the external system. Each of the external object’s fields maps to a table column on the external system. External objects enable your users and the Force.com platform to search and interact with the external data.
You can check here for How to Define External Objects.
So here are somethings which you should know how External Object is different from Custom Objects:
- External Objects’ data is not stored in Salesforce.Users can be provided access to Read but No Write.
- Users can run SOQL but with certain Limits.
- There are NO Formula Fields, Workflow, Triggers, Reports and Analytics available for External Objects.
You can checkout special behavior and limitation including SOQL,External Objects etc on Salesforce Help Section.
Types of External Connections
There are three different types of External Connects which can be used for Salesforce Lightning Connect:
OData 2.0 Adapter
It is REST-based protocol for integrating data.Vendors such as SAP and Microsoft have already implemented OData support, so products such as NetWeaver and SharePoint are directly accessible.
Some Important and must read notes listed here on How Salesforce and Odata work together
This is used to create external objects for data from other Salesforce organizations.It uses the standard Salesforce APIs.Here is how you can set up Salesforce Adapter for Lightning Connect
Custom Adapter for Lightning Connect Using Apex
When there is a situation when you do not have options to integrate with OData or Salesforce Adaptor,Do not get dissapointed as Salesforce provides you with a SDK which you can use to write your own adapters.
Here is more details on Custom Adaptor for Lightning Connect Using Apex.You should also be aware of the limits and considerations for creating Lightning Connect custom adapters with the Apex Connector Framework
Setting Up Lightning Connect
Here are some quick steps (you may say these below just as headlines,I will be soon writing a blog explaining how to set up Lightning Connect with a Demo):
- Connect the external data source(s).
- Create the external objects.
- Define custom fields and relationships for the external objects.
- Set up user authentication